Besides becoming the first commercial cargo hauler to the International Space Station, SpaceX is building a capsule to launch NASA astronauts as soon as next year. These are essential for precisely and safely landing the rocket back on Earth, such as on SpaceX's moving unmanned barge in the Atlantic Ocean. Many more landed boosters will be used during future missions.
We know that Musk and SpaceX began with the idea of making rockets reusable for commercial flights when it was established more than a decade ago, and the company was finally able to achieve this goal in 2015.
SpaceX is working to develop reusable rockets to reduce launch costs. Musk's ultimate goal is to establish a human settlement on Mars.
"I think it's an fantastic day for space", Musk said after the launch in a video message.
The first stage represents the most expensive part of the rocket, according to Musk.
"It's an incredible day I think for space as a whole", Musk said after the landing.
Speaking of which, the typical SpaceX launch costs around $62 million.
Continual and rapid reuse of rocket boosters would drastically cut costs of space travel.
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As for Musk, he said that the test payload would be the silliest thing they can imagine.
Praise and congratulations for SpaceX poured in on Twitter. The cash equivalent of each space shuttle launch was a cube of United States dollar bills about 25 feet (8 meters) on a side.
"Congrats, SpaceX", said the Defense Advances Research Projects agency (DARPA).
As for the cost of Thursday's launch, Martin Halliwell, chief technology officer at SES, has declined to say publicly the exact amount. To prove this, he revealed that the very first Dragon flight was literally cheesy. "It's taken us a long time [with a] lot of hard steps along the way".
"We had access to information that gave us confidence", he said, adding he was "hugely excited" that SpaceX was opening "the door to a whole new era of spaceflight". "Just like an aircraft, really", Musk said.
Falcon 9's second stage, which now still is expendable or single use, also succeeded in its mission to send the SES-10 satellite to a geostationary transfer orbit.
The satellite aims to expand television, internet and mobile connections across Latin America.
Once in position, the satellite will provide telecommunications services to Latin America.